web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Systems Of Human Perfection

The-Shmuz

“And a man from the house of Israel,
and from the converts who live with you, who shall consume any blood,
I shall place My face against the soul of the one who consumed blood,
and I shall cut it off from among your nation.” –
Vayikra 17: 10

 

The Torah warns us many times and with many different exhortations not to consume blood. The Kli Yakar points out that in Devarim the Torah tells us not to eat blood because “Consuming blood brings cruelty into the one who eats it, and the nature of the father is given over to his children to be like him. Therefore, the Torah warns us not to consume blood so that we don’t acquire this nature.”

It seems clear from the Kli Yakar that consuming blood will cause a change in the nature of the person who consumes it. His sensitivities and reactions will have changed, and he will become a different person. Not only will he become callous and pitiless, these traits will become part of his genetic transmission, so that any child that he then has will have this same predisposition towards cruelty.

This concept seems difficult to understand. Firstly, how does consuming blood make a person cruel? Second, how does that change affect the very hereditary transmission of a person so that his children will be pitiless as well?

To understand the answer to this, we need to focus on the basic makeup of man.

The Chovos HaLevovos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim 3) explains that Hashem created man out of two very distinct parts – a nefesh ha’sichlis (intellectual soul) and a nefesh ha’bahami (animal soul). The “I” that thinks, feels, and remembers is comprised of two separate and competing parts, each one with its own nature, tendencies, and needs. The nefesh ha’sichlis desires only that which is good, right, and noble. It yearns to help others, it hungers for meaning and purpose, and more than anything, it needs to be close to Hashem.

Then there is the other part of man – the animal soul. It too has desires and inclinations, and it too hungers for things. One way to better understand the animal soul in man is to visit its parallel in the wild kingdom.

Hashem imprinted into the essence of each animal all the instincts necessary for its survival as well as for the continuation of its species. The animal doesn’t have a cognitive, reasoning element. It doesn’t have an “I” that is the master of the ship. But it does have a vibrant essence that is programmed to seek out its needs. That part is the nefesh of the animal.

That nefesh is pure instinct, drives, and passions – and is affected by both internal and external triggers. In the spring, birds fly north and engage in a fury of nest building and mating. The individual bird doesn’t purposefully choose its mate. Two robins don’t sit down and say to each other, “It’s time for us to settle down and raise a family.” The animal is attracted by the sight, smell, and sound of one of its species, and then will hotly pursue it – often becoming bonded for life. It is driven by instinct in a preset pattern.

Those instincts and desires are affected by various forces. A bird from a different species will not elicit the mating response, nor will even the same species of bird do so in a different time of the year. In the dead of winter, these desires are dormant. The change in season brings them forward to the extent that they take over the existence of that bird. They have been pre-programmed to respond to stimuli that allow for the success of the individual bird and the species as a whole.

The Answer to the Kli Yakar

This seems to be the answer to the question. The Kli Yakir is teaching us that when the Torah forbids us to eat blood, it is because consuming it would make a dramatic change in our inner essence. We would be ingesting part of the nefesh of that animal, and it would become part of our own nefesh ha’bahami. Our conscious reality would change because part of who we are is the animal soul, and we would thereby acquire cruelty. This change is so potent that if the person who drank that blood were to have a child, that child would also have cruelty as part of his inner makeup.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Systems Of Human Perfection”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Said Arikat, al-Quds Washington, D.C. reporter. Jan. 29, 2015
More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

Shmuz-logo-NEW

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

This concept should be very relevant to us as we, too, should be happy beyond description.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

While it may appear that man is in charge, Hashem orchestrates every activity on the planet

Hashem placed this world at man’s disposal. In a real sense, man is the steward of Creation.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/systems-of-human-perfection-2/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: